1. In India, the average price of onions has tripled in the past two months.
2. So when Groupon advertised a deal for onions, the overwhelming demand led to the website promptly crashing.
3. Groupon offered onions at a major markdown: 9 rupees, or about 15 cents a kilogram.
Onions can now cost up to 100 rupees a kilogram in India, where much of the population uses the vegetable in almost every meal. Food prices have spiked across India due to supply shortages, a depreciating rupee and increased inflation. As a result, the average price of a kilogram of onions has more than tripled in the past two months. On Thursday, Groupon sold 3,000 kilograms of onions in 44 minutes, causing the website to crash. More than 8,000 kilograms were purchased when Groupon continued the sale on Friday before they sold out.
4. “This kind of onion price was last seen in 1999,” said Anur Warikoo, chief executive of Groupon in India, to Al-Jazeera America.
5. Groupon advertised the deal in a tongue-in-cheek manner, claiming that “people haven’t experienced onions in a long, long time” and comparing them to caviar and diamonds, according to AFP.
6. The surging onion prices have led to protests, and India is set to begin importing them for the first time in two years.
7. The onion crisis is probably bad news for the Congress Party-led Indian government as it bids for a third consecutive term in general elections expected by May 2014.
In January 1980, the late Congress leader Indira Gandhi rode back to power on the back of rising onion prices, waving huge strings of them at campaign rallies and saying that a government has no right to govern if it cannot control onion costs, AFP reports.